Navtej Kohli throws some light at the viability issues of much hyped solar energy. As the world is looking at alternative sources of energy, solar power is looked upon as the most viable source.
At present solar energy is perhaps the vastly dominant source of energy we use. It just comes in a form we don’t really contemplate, which is oil. The first step of oil formation is the photosynthesis of sunlight by extremely small plankton like plants millions of years ago.
These days, we need a quicker way to convert sunlight into energy. There is more than enough energy in a day’s worth of sunlight to meet our energy needs for a year. The question is how to harness it in an efficient and cost effective manner. Currently, we are failing when it comes to both elements, but are making progress.
The solar panel has always been the prime component of the solar industry, but it has one major flaw. It is incredibly inefficient. It traditionally converts 6 to 10 percent of the energy hitting it in sunrays into usable energy. Recent trends have pushed this into the mid teens. The really exciting news is new technology could push this number into the 40 to 60 percent conversion rates. If this occurs, the viability of solar becomes much greater because a smaller amount of panel is needed to produce vastly more energy.
Another area where solar is making jumps is in new products. The solar panel has its limits, but few every thought beyond it. Now various companies are. The advent of solar dots is exciting a lot of people. Solar dots work by converting the energy in sunlight at a molecular level.
The dots are actually quantum nano dots. Yes, nano. They work by forming a crystalline structure of certain materials. When sunlight hits them, they release multiple electrons. These electrons, of course, form an electrical current that can be harnessed for use. Since the dots are on such a small scale, they could literally be imbedded in just about any structure exposed to the sun.
Solar dots are expected to be cheap and easy to make. The big, bulky solar panels will most likely become a thing of the past. With a high rate of efficiency and low cost, they will truly make solar power a viable energy platform for our needs.
So, when can we expect to see these dots on the market? It is unclear. No commercially viable product has been put together yet as there are hurdles to jump. The hurdles include how to capture the currents being created and how to deal with reliability and such. While the future is certainly bright, pun intended, it will probably be a few years yet before we all become very fond of solar energy.